Jaipur/Kota: Large areas in several districts of Rajasthan were flooded after water was released from dams, forcing evacuation of thousands of stranded people, including school children.
Teams of the army, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and other agencies are conducting rescue operations in Chittorgarh district and Kota city, where many people are marooned on rooftops after nearly 7 lakh cusecs of water was discharged from the Kota barrage on Sunday.
Educational institutions have been closed in affected areas and the administration has appealed to people to ignore rumours on conditions of dams and barrages.
In Chittorgarh's Rawatbhata town, efforts are being made to evacuate 318 children and 25 teachers of a private school, who got stranded after water was released from 17 gates of the Ranapratap Sagar dam on Saturday.
"The children and teachers are safe and the school management has shifted them to another building of the school. They can be rescued when the water level comes down, a district administration official said, adding that arrangements of food and water have been made.
If the water level does not come down by Monday, they might be airlifted, he said. The meteorological department has predicted heavy to very heavy rainfall in Baran, Chittorgarh, Jhalawar and Kota districts during the next 24 hours.
Kota is facing an unprecedented situation as it is the first time since the construction of the Gandhi Sagar dam that a record 6.93 lakh cusecs of water has been discharged from 19 gates of the Kota Barrage in a day, Kota district Collector Muktanand Agrawal told reporters.
Over 5,000 people have been evacuated so far in Kota and teams are conducting operations to rescue those stranded and take relief to the affected, officials said.
He said more water is likely to be discharged from the Gandhi Sagar dam which is currently overflowing at 1,314 ft and needs to be brought down to 1,308 ft.
"The army, administration, NDRF, SDRF and civil defence teams are on alert to meet any eventuality," he said, and appealed to people to ignore rumours of damage to dams. Both Gandhi Sagar and Kota Barrage are fully safe and secure, the official said.
The down stream localities in Kota city were the worst affected by the deluge, as water reached even the second floor of houses and people were taking shelter on the third floor of buildings to save themselves, officials said.
The army has been kept on standby at Dholpur and Sawai Madhopur districts and is conducting rescue operations in Kota.
"On call from the civil administration, the columns of the army were mobilised and after recce of flooded areas, army columns rescued the people marooned on rooftops and assisted in the evacuation of people from low-lying areas to safe places," Defence Spokesperson Col Sombit Ghosh said.
"The army has distributed relief materials and provided basic amenities to the affected people," he added. In Dholpur district, the Chambal river is flowing above the danger mark due to heavy rains in Rajasthan's Hadauti region and parts of neighbouring Madhya Pradesh.
The water level in the Chambal river at Dholpur on Sunday was 141.1 metre which is 12 metre high than the danger mark of 129.79 metre.
The situation improved in downstream areas of Jhalawar district which were flooded due to discharge of about 5 lakh cusecs of waster from Kalisindh dam in the district.
As the discharge was brought down to 2 lakh cusecs, food waters receded. "The flood situation is under control. No one in the district is reported trapped," Jhalawar district collector Siddharth Sihag said.
In Baran, district collector Indra Singh Rao has declared a holiday in schools on Monday. Bundi district collector Rukmani Riyad Sihag also appealed the people to move away from areas near Chambal.
Lok Sabha Speaker and Kota-Bundi MP Om Birla remained in touch with senior state officials on the flood relief operations.
Heavy to extremely heavy rainfall occurred at isolated areas in eastern parts of Rajasthan and light to moderate rain was recorded in isolated areas of western parts of the state since Saturday.